The Packers draft will depend on free agency
The Green Bay Packers draft is pretty up in the air at this point. Sure, most NFL teams don’t have their picks locked down yet. The scouting combine is still a month away. But the Packers have a few positions of need, and their draft choice will be contingent on how the free agency period goes.
The Packers have 14 free agents in 2023. They also have limited cap space to work with next season. Cutting running back Aaron Jones is rumored as one potential remedy to allow the Packers to re-sign players. That’s because if the Packers cut him, they’d save $20 million in cap space over the next two seasons.
While this isn’t ideal for the Packers, as Jones is one of the offense’s best players, releasing him might be in the team’s highest interest to field a competitive team next season. Fortunately, if Jones couldn’t return, there are good options at running back in the Packers draft.
Bijan Robinson is getting a lot of attention in draft circles
Brennen Rupp with Packers Wire wrote about possible draft targets for the Packers in 2023. Rupp thinks that Texas running back Bijan Robinson could be worth a first-round pick for Green Bay:
“Robinson is a game-changer. Vision, contact balance, elusiveness, and ability as a pass catcher out of the backfield. You name it, Robinson has it in spades.
A talented running back can be found in the seventh round. It can be found in the fifth round, like Jones. There are so many talented running backs in this draft class that it would make sense to wait to address the position outside of the first round. The Packers have more pressing needs than running back, even if Jones is cut.
However, none of those running backs are Bijan Robinson. You can either have a nice, thick, juicy steak, or you can wait to have a hamburger. The Packers don’t get many chances to add elite talent, like Robinson very often. Add Robinson to this offense and prosper.”
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Robinson could fit a Packers’ need
Drafting a running back in the first round is always a risk. They have several other needs, like edge and tight end, in the Packers draft. However, if Jones is out next season, the Packers will need a running back that can be efficient immediately. The offense needs a running back as Aaron Rodgers ages to help take the edge off the passing game. Robinson can do that. (Check out his draft profile here.)
In the middle of the season, many analysts thought the Packers would be going after an elite wide receiver in the draft. Fortunately for their draft outlook, it looks like Christian Watson is dynamic enough that the Packers can look to improve other positions. Robinson might be the type of athlete that can carry the offense at times next season.